David Cameron committed in January 2013 to hold an in/out referendum about the EU by the end of 2017 if his party won an outright majority. Maybe he was not sure he would need to deliver it. Now he is forced to. Can this be turned into an opportunity for Europe to revisit some critical issues, or will the Eurocratic immobilism prevail?
This week saw the first conservative government reelected to a second term in the U.K. since Margaret Thatcher's. Returns showed David Cameron winning easily, with Labour and the Liberal Democrats losing big. But the other clear losers were the pollsters, along with anyone who believed their predictions of a virtual tie. Pollsters are not exactly on a roll. In March, polls wrongly showed a dead-heat in Israel between the Zionist Union party and Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud, which, in fact, won handily. And here at home, polls in the 2014 midterms overestimated Democrats in Senate races by four percent. As three new candidates -- Mike Huckabee, Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson -- tossed their hats into the crowded presidential ring this week, it's a good time to remind ourselves about the folly of breathless poll-obsessed political coverage. It's the people, not the polls, that matter. And focusing on the horse race at the expense of debating real issues makes losers of us all.
You'd have to be a psychopath to take pleasure in some of the losses the past 12 hours have seen. Douglas Alexander, Danny Alexander and Jim Murphy, for example, didn't lose their seats because they were bad at their job. They lost their seats because Scotland is currently in the grip of a wave of hysteria.